Dinamo Moscow became the first team to secure their spot among the top two in the regular season of the men’s Superliga, and progress to the Final Six of Russia’s domestic championship. According to the competition format, the top two teams in the standings advance directly to the deciding stage of the season, while the teams placed from third to tenth have to go through a home-and-away qualification round to determine the remaining four participants.
With Bulgarian opposite Tsvetan Sokolov delivering the match high of 18 points, Dinamo claimed a 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-14) victory at Yenisei Krasnoyarsk on Saturday to improve their win-loss record to 19-2. With 54 points, 59-18 sets and five games to play, they lead the current standings and can no longer be pushed below the second place cut-off by the end of the league stage.
The only team that can mathematically overtake the Muscovites in the table are third-placed Kuzbass Kemerovo (17-4, 48, 54-27).
Also on Saturday, Zenit Kazan claimed a straight-set 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-19) win at Gazprom-Ugra Surgut to step up to the second position on 18-7, 51 and 59-35, but with only one match left to play they can no longer catch up with Dinamo in the standings.
In Saturday’s most interesting game, fifth-placed Fakel Novy Urengoy managed a 3-2 (14-25, 25-20, 25-23, 18-25, 15-9) home victory over fourth-placed Zenit Saint Petersburg to narrow the gap in the standings to one point, with each of the two teams boasting a 15-8 win-loss record. Former Russian international Maxim Zhigalov of Fakel was the best scorer of the match with 19 points, including three aces and two blocks, while current national team opposite Victor Poletaev produced 18 points for Zenit.
Ukrainian international Dmytro Viietskyi was the top scorer of the day across all six Superliga games played on Saturday. He contributed 30 points towards ASK Nizhny Novgorod’s 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 27-25, 25-21) home victory over Ugra-Samotlor Nizhnevartovsk, with which the team secured a top 10 finish and advancement to the playoff round.
Serbian international Drazen Luburic was the next best point-maker with 27 putaways, including five aces, towards Lokomotiv Novosibirsk’s 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-19) win at Dinamo-LO Leningrad Oblast. The defending champions upped their record to 13-9 in sixth place.
Main photo: vc-enisey.ru
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